Twenty-two years ago, the U.S. Catholic bishops wrote:

Our families are torn by violence. Our communities are destroyed by violence. Our faith is tested by violence.

Not only was violence then destroying lives, dignity, and hopes, the bishops wrote, but fear of violence was “paralyzing and polarizing our communities.”

The violence then described by the bishops is now compounded in our consciousness by terrorism abroad, wars across the Middle East, mass shootings in places like San Bernardino, Charleston, Sandy Hook, and Orlando, shootings by police and others of Black men, women, and children, shootings of police officers, and violent political discourse. Despite our impressions and fears, as the bishops then noted, “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

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